It is 2AM
It is the same picture as the nights before.
She’s curled up in that special spot.
The one that she has learnt to frequent when the pictures become inconsistent blurs.
The space beneath her desk is a perfect world.
One that is neither claustrophobic nor large enough to induce a bout of crippling fear.
It is a perfect world, one where she has complete control.
It is where she hides when the world curses her very name.
The picture changes
Now she is walking through the school gates.
They tower above her like iron sneering giants
Casting a condescending shadow over her every step
She glides through a crowd of blurred faces.
Eyes on the ground. One foot in-front of the other
As invisible as a ghost yet as noticeable as the elephant in the room
Wordless insults cling to her like an ill-fitting dress.
She wears them like a ragged cloak – and that is all they see.
Her ragged cloak becomes a permanents feature
An accessory that she has grown accustomed to
An accessory that leaves marks upon her skin
Scars and bruises trace patterns across her frail body,
Like a map guiding you along a path of her pain.
The picture blurs and fades from one image to another.
The mirror is staring back at her.
Now it is cracked and her knuckes are bleeding.
She is weeping.
The ledge seems so tempting.
She takes a step.
The pictures stop.
But this isn’t the end.
Rewind to the first scene.
The pictures are all the same.
A tragedy unfolds, yet it does not unfold in silence.
There is a voice behind each picture.
A voice uttering words of comfort.
“Everything is going to be okay”
“Ignore them, they’re just jealous”
“It gets better”
It is a voice that is better known as music.
Each beat of the kick-drum coincides with the beat of her heart at 2AM
Each beat reminds her that she is still alive, that she is still fighting.
The screech of the guitar throws up a towering wall, fending off the insults.
The lyrics of her favourite songs mould to fit her like skinny jeans and combat boots.
The lyrics become her war cry, her shields against the melodramatic drama of a cruel world.
Each song is another reason to stay alive for another day.
We’re back at the ledge.
She takes a step back.
The voice told her not to do it.
That was not the moment when she gave up.
That was the moment when the fight had only just begun.
It is 2AM
She’s fast asleep with a smile on her face.
It has been five years.
She’s buried the past in a shallow grave.
The scars are all but a distant memory.
All the pictures have changed, but the music has stayed the same.